Downscaling of passive microwave soil moisture retrievals based on spectral analysis

Aifen Zhong, Anqi Wang, Jiwei Li, Tingbao Xu, Dan Meng, Yinghai Ke, Xiaojuan Li, Yun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The retrieval of soil moisture from passive microwave remotesensing data is presently one of the most effective methods for monitoring soil moisture. However, the spatial resolution of passive microwave soil moisture products is generally low; thus, existing soil moisture products should be downscaled in order to obtain more accurate soil moisture data. In this study, we explore the theoretical feasibility of applying the spectral downscaling method to the soil moisture in order to generate high spatial resolution soil moisture based on both Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and Fengyun-3B (FY3B) data. We analyse the spectral characteristics of soil moisture images covering the east-central of the Tibetan Plateau which have different spatial resolutions. The spectral analysis reveals that the spectral downscaling method is reliable in theory for downscaling soil moisture. So, we developed one spectral downscaling method for deriving the high spatial resolution (1 km) soil moister data from the FY3B data (25 km). Our results were compared with the ground truth measurements from 15 selected experimental days in 16 different sites. The average coefficient of determination (R2) of the spectral downscaling increased nearly doubled than that of the original FY3B soil moisture product. The spectral downscaled soil moister data were successfully applied to examine the water exchange between the land and atmosphere in the study regions. The spectral downscaling approach could be an efficient and effective method to improve the spatial resolution of current microwave soil moisture images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-67
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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